It’s hard to narrow the wide range of cultural influences resultant of today’s media bombardment, but one commercial for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese recently struck a nerve. The fifteen second plug showcased a bright orange macaroni noodle positioned to resemble a smile. The tagline: You Know You Love It.
Therein lays the rub. Kids love it. Parents love it. College students survive on it. It’s convenient and inexpensive and I’m pretty sure if NASA could train HAM the Astrochimp to man a space capsule for a sixteen minute space flight, they could have trained him to prepare a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. On that same note, they also could have taught him to make macaroni and cheese from scratch, because the homemade version is just as easy as the manufactured one.
The media influences us as consumers because people, whether we want to admit it or not, are inherently susceptible to suggestion. Kraft has spent seventy years campaigning for our business with creative slogans like, Parent’s Need Warm, Cheesy Hugs, Too and The Most Fun You Can Have With Your Stove On. In a national market saturated with prepackaged, non-perishable products meant to make weekday meal preparation quick and expedient for busy parents, has our love of convenience foods gone too far? We can all agree manufactured food is popular with today’s society, but why the craze for the stuff in the iconic blue box? To find the answer we have to go back to the beginning.
Macaroni and cheese is considered the epitome of southern comfort, but it wasn’t conceived below the Mason-Dixon Line. Macaroni is mentioned in one of the oldest known medieval French cookbooks and was considered an upper class dish (History of Macaroni). Thomas Jefferson encountered the casserole in both Paris and in Northern Italy. He eventually imported macaroni and parmesan cheese to Monticello and reportedly, as President, served macaroni pie at a state dinner.
How did the homemade version evolve into the freeze...
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